Atlas spurned | Aug. 16, commentary
Church and capitalism don't mix
To please his religious constituency, Rep. Paul Ryan claims to be inspired by Thomas Aquinas rather than by Ayn Rand. He conveniently ignores that Aquinas condemned capitalism six hundred years before Karl Marx did. In the name of Christian principles, Aquinas stated that the human person cannot be considered merchandise and that it behooves the government (at that time identified with the religious authority) to protect each and every human being from economic exploitation.
Since the encyclical "Rerum Novarum" of Pope Leo XIII, this position has been echoed by virtually every pope in the past century. Clearly, in the view of Catholic thinkers and leaders, Christianity and capitalism are incompatible. The convenient marriage of these opposite ideologies has been the major political fraud of the last 30 years in the United States.
Lodovico Balducci, Tampa
Slogans and slanders
A friend of mine emailed me a joke about President Barack Obama. It was terrible and I wrote back and asked that he never send anything like that to me again. Then I thought about how much his political debauchery was not so different from what I hear on the radio, see on TV and read in the newspaper.
As a retired professor with 43 years' experience evaluating texts, I have become increasingly appalled by the meaningless slogans and unrestrained slander that passes as political news. By taking leave of our moral sensibilities and tolerating these political polemics, we are complicit in encouraging a political culture that has swamped respectable discourse.
This country needs a critical public to make informed evaluations of candidates who would rule our economy, health care, education, defense and infrastructure. Follow the money and pay close attention to the arguments.
James Paul, Temple Terrace
Another black man dead; more questions Aug. 20, commentary
Give police benefit of doubt
Leonard Pitts gives almost a dozen names of those who have died over the years in what are called "suspicious circumstances" while dealing with police. The tone of the article casts a leery eye at all law enforcement. This mistrust is not uncommon in the black community and is supported by articles such as this. The cases named are scattered all over the country and are an anomaly when compared to the numbers murdered at the hands of Pitts' "brothers" in our inner cities.
I was an inner-city cop for 30 years and know of what I speak. "Lynchings" are still going on in the black community; only the race of the perpetrator has changed. Murder is murder. Let's see some outrage over the perceptions that cause mistrust. Stop scapegoating the police and hold a mirror to the society that seems to shrug its shoulders at its own carnage.
Mr. Pitts, give the police the benefit of the doubt. Await the results of the investigation. Allow the system its due process.
Ron Stokes, Lutz
Hunting for connection | Aug. 19
Desensitized to killing
When it seems as if the United States has gone back to the days of the Wild West with ever-present headlines of gun massacres, I read in horror and disgust on the front page of Floridian about a family bonding through the killing of animals.
Have we not evolved enough to understand that "traditional" killing has desensitized us to killing in general? I'll bet that many of these wildlife killers believe in the sanctity of life but make a distinction about whose life it will be. This country continues to lose its moral bearings through senseless killings and videos promoting enjoyment in vicarious killing.
Marilyn Weaver, Tarpon Springs
Planning reveals transport shortfall Aug. 20, editorial
Water taxis and trollies
While I couldn't agree more with this editorial, Ride the Tide Tampa Bay continues its campaign to start our transition to mass transit. Imagine the impression the global crowd would have at the coming convention if they were able to hop on a municipal water taxi from Channelside in Tampa, cruise across our magnificent bay, disembark at the St. Petersburg Pier and then hop on a streetcar that travels through the heart and soul of our city, Central Avenue, and goes to the world-famous gulf beach areas. We can't think of any mass transit system that would put us "on the map" better than this.
Rand Moorhead, St. Petersburg
Unmasking a candidate | Aug. 19
Look at the president
Why hasn't the president been "unmasked"? The man in the White House should know that what's on the inside shows on the outside and should read Titus 1:15. He sees everyone else's dirty laundry when actually his own windows are dirty, his records are sealed and secret and his own house is in disarray.
As for the public, it's the selfish, self-centered and intolerant recipients of his leftist largesse who sing his praises. So long as the rest of us pay for it, or are forced to pay, they couldn't care less. The thing is, we are not going to pay for it anymore.
Charles Scott, St. Petersburg
TV Times | Aug. 19
It was sad to see the picture on the cover of the TV section in Sunday's paper. It is a most demeaning and tasteless image of young college women and extremely insulting.
Please don't stoop to the lowest level our culture presents — you can do much better.
Mary Anne Mulder, St. Petersburg
Cops link tax fraud to public benefits Aug. 19
While the facts of this article may be valid, the implications are biased. The photographs accompanying the article are of four African-American people. The implication is that the majority of the people who commit this type of fraud are non-white.
The majority of people who receive welfare benefits in Florida are white. Could none of them be found to be committing this fraud? The article only adds fuel to the fire in the public mind that minorities who receive assistance are "welfare queens in Cadillacs," to quote Ronald Reagan. The reporters who have been following this story need to do more to highlight a human issue, rather than a racial one.
Andrea Raitzin, Largo